It's a happy day on the Kansas prairie for we have received our copy of 50 Dangerous Things (You should let your children do!) Yip and Yap pounced on the book as soon as I walked in the door from the post office and often I've found them huddled over it trying to decide which "dangerous" thing to do next.
I'm rather impressed with this book. Tully hasn't written this book so that we can just give it to our kids and let them run wild doing dangerous stuff. He realizes, as I hope most parents would, kids should go through this book with parents and have a conversation about all these activities. What skills do they have and what do they need to complete each activity? Is it even feasible right now? (No public transit out here to ride across town!) Do the parents feel the child is old enough? I'd feel comfortable with allowing my boys to go throw rocks somewhere (dangerous thing #11) because I trust them to not throw rocks towards anyone or anything merely to cause damage. I wouldn't however feel comfortable with allowing Yahoo to throw rocks somewhere....my luck she'd choose to throw rocks at my car!
50 Dangerous Things (You should let your children do!) is written more like a workbook. On the left page the dangerous activity is introduced along with warnings, what's required for each activity, a how to, and supplementary data. On the opposite page is a blank area for note taking on each activity. How did it go? What did you observe? Or has mom and dad written in the notes that this activity I can't do until I'm older? Activity 32 is Change a Tire and I'm not real comfortable with my 8 year olds doing that quite yet, maybe when they are 12.
What I really like about this book is that it's a kick starter for conversations between parents and kids. Not that I haven't had any of these conversations about some of these activities already with my kids (Make a Rope Swing, Go Underground, Climb a Tree, Drive a Nail, Stand on the Roof are all things we did long ago.) But there are some "dangerous" activities that I never would have thought to do with my kids; Poison your friends (That's a funny one!) or Cook Something in the Dishwasher (you can do that??) We've spent a lot of time discussing a lot of different "dangerous" activities and how we would need to prepare for them. Doing dangerous things with your kids is a partnership!
Activity #21 Spend an Hour Blindfolded.
DR and Yap were off running some errands one Saturday morning when Yip decided to spend an hour blindfolded. (Hint: I probably should have made a blindfold from darker fabric since he could still see light.)
He folded laundry. I must say his laundry folding skills certainly didn't get better or worse while blindfolded.
I told him if he was going to go blindfolded for an hour he couldn't just sit on the couch the whole time!
We decided to go for a walk. Without any help from me he went down and up steps to get his jacket and he made his way outside.
He even remembered where to find a stick to use while we were outside.
He even ambitiously climbed a tree stump, pretty well I might add.
Then on to the playground across the street.
I have to admit I REALLY enjoyed this hour of blindfolded Yip because it forced him to slow down. I am constantly yelling at this kid to quit running and bounding through my house and to stop walking/jumping/standing on my furniture. He has this whole crouched, four legged, catlike bounding thing he tends to do, at great speeds, through my kitchen. An hour without that was heaven!
He did very well navigating around his environment for that hour which ended up with all three of us sitting on Yahoo's bed reading before her nap. I didn't expect him to have any trouble going blind for an hour near home where he knew where pretty much everything was and knew he had me there if he had any trouble, though the only thing I ever did for him was hold his hand as we crossed the street.
This makes me wonder though how he'd do if he was blindfolded for two hours or more? How would he do if we went to Walmart or a restaurant blind? What if I wasn't with him for the entire time? What kinds of problems would he have to find solutions for? (I kind of want to do this activity myself!) That's one of the great things about this book is that it gives a space to work through questions and encourages you to perhaps do the dangerous activities again differently to answer those questions.
Currently the boys have our old television set partially dismantled in the garage. Fun, fun, dangerous fun!